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Wellness From the Garden

Writer / Carrie Petty
Photography Provided

garden wellnessThere is one place where I am certain we can go and be perfectly safe. There is no mask needed, no threat of standing too close to one another, and no one coughing on you. There is great peace, and even great wellness, to be found in a garden.

My entire yard is fondly called “the garden.” There is plenty of work and exercise to be found here year-round. It is where I find joy, and what I love teaching people about the most – how to grow a more beautiful life.

March is the beginning. It is the time I wait for all year. The spring equinox will arrive on Saturday, March 20 at 5:37 a.m. I love how precise spring is. She knows right when to get here, and it is always when we need her the most.

Begin your work with taking stock of your property. With a cup of coffee in hand, walk your property and dream a little. What do you want to change? Would you like to grow more cut-flowers, and bring them indoors for family dinners? How about some more privacy – do you need to plant a screen of trees? I usually begin by looking for the damage the winter harshness has created. With pruners along for the walk, I will discard any broken or unsightly limbs from woody plants. (Note: I always sharpen and clean all my tools prior to starting). This is a good place to begin.

garden wellness

Most importantly, begin to remove winter debris. Remove any remnants of last season’s garden. I always use a general granular, organic fertilizer and sprinkle around the base of the newly exposed green shoots. If the soil is thawed enough, I will edge the beds and get a crisp, sharp outline around each area. I try not to rake too much, as this will expose the weed seeds lying just under the soil. I want to leave those dormant as long as possible.

Weeding comes soon enough!

A spring snow in the garden often causes some panic. Many worry that daffodils will start to sprout too early. Folks often ask me, “Will they be OK?” The answer is most often yes.

Here’s the deal. Mother Nature has the whole timing thing down. She is all about timing. When you see those little crocus sprouts, or the tips of your tulips begin to emerge, don’t worry too much. They know what they are doing. If you want to cover them with a little newspaper or a sheet because a blanket of ice is coming, do it – especially cover if the flower buds are well emerged.

I adore the perfect timing of it all. English gardeners have long believed in timing when it comes to the moon’s incredible power, particularly the gravitational pull. The Farmer’s Almanac reads, “Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to earth and her natural rhythms.” The moon’s new and first-quarter phases, known as the Light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting in the late spring. Also, you have to love this tip: “Dig your horseradish in the full moon for the best flavor.” This is good to know for that savory Bloody Mary. Now that’s wellness!

garden wellness

While I love the perfect timing of it all, it is OK to “force” a few things along the way. Now is a great time to plant small vessels with wheatgrass seed to use indoors for your Easter table centerpieces. Wheatgrass is like regular grass seed, but the blade is thicker for a more pronounced tuft of green.

Also, get out and clip a few branches off your blooming trees, and place them in a vase of clean, warm water. Put them in some sunlight, and in about two weeks their buds will “break” and begin to swell. Soon you will have fresh crabapple, cherry, dogwood or redbud blooms indoors – all good varieties for forcing. This is a great task for children to do and can inspire their curiosity in the garden.

Wellness truly can come from the garden. Enjoy her beauty, the exercise and fresh air, and even the quiet time to think and ponder – all without a mask! Enjoy growing a more beautiful life my friends.

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